Bristol District Day of Fellowship
11th January 2018
On Sabbath 23 December 2017, over 200 members and visitors from the three churches of the Bristol district, came together to worship at a special District Day of Fellowship. The atmosphere was one of joy and celebration, as everyone gave thanks to God, in study, prayer and praise, for the way He had led them through the year.
Organised by the joint elders of the churches, the day followed a slightly different format, with the Adult programme having three speakers, each being preceded by a special item, from Claudette Brown, The Chronicles and Bianca Brown. Special provision was also made for the Youth and Children, as they had their own programmes, for the whole morning, in order to cater to everyone's needs.
The guest speaker for the Youth, was Melissa Nicholson, who talked about 'Crossing Over', based on Exodus 14, and talked about the steps, To See God, To Remember How He Led in the Past, and to Step Out in Faith. In common with a lot of churches, the Bristol district had lost a number of its young people, so speaking after the service, Melissa commented, that she felt that "Youth want to hear about the speaker's own journey and experiences, on subjects that are relevant to them, and they need to be encouraged to be involved, even when it takes them out of their comfort zone."
In the Adult programme, Elder Billy Odumuzor spoke on the theme of Selfishness or Selflessness, highlighting the difference between our natural sinful selfish nature, and Christ's perfect selfless character. He was followed by Bristol district pastor, Royston Smith, who challenged the church on the subject of our choices, particularly using the example of the Two Roads, the wide or narrow path. Speaking of the many opposing lifestyles, positions, destinations and authorities, with which we are faced, he urged the congregation to "Look at your current situation, and question and assess your relationship with God." In other words, "Check yourself."
The last speaker, Elder Brenda Sabadin from Bristol Central, concluded on the subject of Your Past or Your Future? This was particularly relevant, with the coming end of the year. Using the example of Paul in Philippians 3:13-14, she encouraged the church to look forward to the future, rather than dwelling on the past, even if it was good. However well we think we have done for the Lord, there is more we can do to reach His lost sheep. She challenged the church to "Make yourself available to be used by God, and recognise your calling", which was a fitting thought to leave the congregation with.
Following a friendly bring and share lunch, a special presentation was made by representatives of NHS Blood and Transplant, who had been invited to speak to the combined churches of the Bristol district. They spent a few minutes, outlining the need for blood donation, and in particular, from the black African/Caribbean community, due to the prevalence of sickle cell disease and the need for more Ro blood subtype, which is quite often found in people of African or Caribbean heritage, and for which they need to urgently sign up 40,000 black donors to meet demand.
After the presentation, the representatives, Joanne Seddon-Dite and Brad Dinnall, stayed to talk to people individually, and if interested, sign them up for future blood donation sessions. One person was Princess Campbell, who had never given blood before, and was nervous of needles. Through talking through the process and asking questions, she eventually decided to register and book in to attend a session. Even Pastor Smith, signed up himself, as an example to the congregation.
The afternoon programme saw the anticipated arrival of a coachload of guests from Handsworth church, Birmingham, who took part in the programme. Performers included Alan Charles, a male trio, God's Girls, and other soloists and groups. They greatly enhanced the day, with fantastic singing and they brought a real spirit of praise and worship. A particular highlight was 8-year-old Anya, who played 'Mary, Did you Know?' beautifully on the violin. In addition, the Poet Laureate for Bristol, Bristol Central member and performance poet, Miles Chambers, took part, and a joint praise team was made up of young people from Derby, Chester, Coventry and South Bristol, led the church in song.
It was a truly spiritual high day, setting the churches up, to meet the challenges of the new year, as they seek to reach the people of Bristol, with the good news of salvation.
A selection of photos are available at